Glomerulonephritis (gluh-MARE-you-low-ne-FRY-tis) is an inflammation of the glomeruli, the parts of the filtering units (nephrons) of the kidney that contain a network of capillaries (tiny blood vessels).
Kidneys filter the blood. The main functional units of the kidney, where the filtering takes place, are called nephrons. Each kidney has about a million nephrons, and each nephron has one glomerulus (singular of glomeruli).
Glomerulonephritis damages the glomeruli, causing symptoms such as blood in the urine, foamy urine, and swelling (edema) around the face, eyes, ankles, legs, and abdomen.
Some cases of glomerulonephritis get better on their own. Others respond well to treatment, and most of the time, any damage done to the kidneys heals completely. Only in rare cases does glomerulonephritis cause long-term kidney problems.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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